Archive for January, 2016

screenshot headgear

Martial Arts enthusiast, Physicist and author Jason Thalken has recently obtained a patent for a headgear design that he hopes can reduce head trauma and the incidence of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in contact sports.

In en effort to bring attention to this patent Thalken has published the full text of his patent to Researchgate and is available here.

Headgrear for Reducing Head Trauma Patent Material

Thalken Tweets

I won’t pretend to have a physics or engineering background capable of dissecting the potential efficacy of this product but if other physicists agree that Thalken’s designs hold potential the combat sports and contact sports world should help him secure the funding he needs to get this product off the ground.

 

In the latest UFC pay per view event piracy prosecution, reasons for judgement were released this week by the US District Court, E.D. California, recommending $10,000 in statutory damages following the commercial piracy of UFC 162.

In the recent case (Joe Hand Promotions Inc. v. Forsberg) the Defendant displayed UFC 162, (Anderson Silva v Chris Weidman) at a pub without paying the commercial sub licencing fee which would have been $750.

Investigators noted that the Defendant charged patrons a $10 cover and that there were 56 patrons present which exceeded the establishments capacity.

The Plaintiff asked for maximum statutory damages of $110,000 but the Court noted this was excessive with an award of $10,000 reaching the appropriate balance of compensation and deterrence.  In reaching this figure District Judge Edmund Brennan noted as follows –

Here, plaintiff seeks a judgment in the amount of $110,750. ECF No. 20-2 at 2. Plaintiff’s application for default judgment and proposed order indicate that this sum consists of $110,000 for a violation of 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(B)(iii) and (e)(3)(C)(ii), and $750 as compensatory damages arising from defendant’s alleged act of conversion. Id.

Plaintiff’s investigator’s affidavit provides the Rooster Juice Grill and Sports Bar’s capacity is approximately 50, and that there were around 56 patrons at the establishment on the night in question. ECF No. 20-3 at 2-3. The affidavit further states that the establishment was unlawfully broadcasting the Program on five televisions. Id. at 2. Although plaintiff’s investigator was charged a $10 fee to enter the establishment, there is no evidence that defendants prepared any special advertising for the broadcast of the Program, that the establishment had increased business as a result of the broadcast, or that defendants are repeat offender with respect to intercepting transmissions of the type at issue here. Balancing these facts with the widespread problem of piracy and the need for an award sufficient to deter future piracy, the court recommends an award of statutory damages in the amount of $10,000. On the record before the court, the court does not find that this case merits an award of enhanced damages.

 

An important study was recently published in the open access journal, PLOS ONE, analyzing the relationship between the severity of traumatic brain injury and anabolic steroid use.

In the Study, titled “Chronic Exposure to Androgenic-Anabolic Steroids Exacerbates Axonal Injury and Microgliosis in the CHIMERA Mouse Model of Repetitive Concussion” the authors noted that in about 20% of known Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) cases the subjects had a history of substance use including androgenic-anabolic steroids.

The authors questioned whether there was a connection between anabolic steroid use and severity of brain injury and conducted a study involving mice.  Some of the mice received a cocktail of three anabolic steroids (testosterone, nandrolone and 17α-methyltestosterone) and were later exposed to two incidents causing traumatic brain injury.

The mice exposed to steroids exhibited significantly exacerbated axonal injury and microgliosis leading the authors to conclude that anabolic steroid use “can alter neuronal and innate immune responses to concussive TBI

The full study is available by subscription and the abstract can be found here and is reproduced below –

Abstract

Concussion is a serious health concern. Concussion in athletes is of particular interest with respect to the relationship of concussion exposure to risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative condition associated with altered cognitive and psychiatric functions and profound tauopathy. However, much remains to be learned about factors other than cumulative exposure that could influence concussion pathogenesis. Approximately 20% of CTE cases report a history of substance use including androgenic-anabolic steroids (AAS). How acute, chronic, or historical AAS use may affect the vulnerability of the brain to concussion is unknown. We therefore tested whether antecedent AAS exposure in young, male C57Bl/6 mice affects acute behavioral and neuropathological responses to mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) induced with the CHIMERA (Closed Head Impact Model of Engineered Rotational Acceleration) platform. Male C57Bl/6 mice received either vehicle or a cocktail of three AAS (testosterone, nandrolone and 17α-methyltestosterone) from 8–16 weeks of age. At the end of the 7th week of treatment, mice underwent two closed-head TBI or sham procedures spaced 24 h apart using CHIMERA. Post-repetitive TBI (rTBI) behavior was assessed for 7 d followed by tissue collection. AAS treatment induced the expected physiological changes including increased body weight, testicular atrophy, aggression and downregulation of brain 5-HT1B receptor expression. rTBI induced behavioral deficits, widespread axonal injury and white matter microgliosis. While AAS treatment did not worsen post-rTBI behavioral changes, AAS-treated mice exhibited significantly exacerbated axonal injury and microgliosis, indicating that AAS exposure can alter neuronal and innate immune responses to concussive TBI.

Update – This article has been republished at MixedMartialArts.com where a forum member helpfully points to this 2013 study which concludes that long-term high-dose anabolic-androgenic steroids exposure may cause cognitive deficits, notably in visuospatial memory even without exposure to head trauma.

As first reported by Fightland, Federal Judge Kimba Wood has released reasons for judgement denying Zuffa’s request for a preliminary injunction preventing New York from using their Combative Sport Law to shut down a planned UFC event at Madison Square Gardens.

Zuffa argued that a preliminary injunction was needed because the case will likely succeed at trial, there will be irreparable harm (either by having the event shut down or the looming threat of criminal charges if the event proceeds) without a preliminary injunction and lastly that an injunction is in the public interest.

The Court declined the request for a preliminary injunction finding a Pullman abstention was appropriate.

Fightland obtained the below copy of Judge Wood’s reasons:

Screenshot Judge Wood Reasons

Adding to this site’s archived cases of UFC pay per view event piracy prosecutions, reasons for judgement were released this month assessing damages at $4,800 for the commercial piracy of UFC 169.

In the recent case (Joe Hand Promotions, Inc v. Lawhon) the Defendant displayed UFC 169 at a bar without paying the commercial sub licencing fee.  The Plaintiff sued and obtained default judgement.

In finding that damages at $100 per patron present at the time of the event and then tripling this figure for deterrent purposes was appropriate, Senior District Judge Carlton Tilley Jr. provided the following reasons:

Mr. Aguilar’s three head counts of ten, fifteen, and seven “people” in the establishment at each particular time are also problematic because they may include the two bartenders who would not be patrons, as well as himself. Taking that into account, the Court calculates statutory damages based on twelve patrons (fifteen “people” minus the two bartenders and Mr. Aguilar) at a rate of $100, which is appropriate in this case considering the range of rates used in other cases, for damages in the amount of $1,200. See Brutti’s, LLC, 2014 WL 7363823, at *7, *7 n. 4 (noting that the accepted per person rate in the Eastern District of Virginia is $100 and citing J & J Sports Prods., Inc. v. El Tropicabana, No. 3:12CV800, 2013 WL 3270563, at *3 (E.D. Va. June 26, 2013) as providing the range of rates elsewhere).

Because “signals do not descramble spontaneously, nor do television sets connect themselves to cable distribution systems,” Joe Hand is also entitled to enhanced statutory damages because of Defendant’s willful violation of the law. Tropicabana, 2013 WL 3270563, at *3 (finding that the defendant acted willfully and citing Time Warner Cable v. Googies Luncheonette, 77 F. Supp. 2d 485, 490 (S.D.N.Y. 1999)); see also Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Thurston, 469 U.S. 111, 127, 105 S. Ct. 613, 624 (1985) (recognizing willfulness in a civil case as “a disregard for the governing statute and an indifference to its requirements”); [Joe Hand, Jr. Aff. ¶ 9, Doc. #13-1]. Other than Defendant’s willful conduct, Joe Hand has neither alleged nor provided evidence of any other aggravating factor. See J & J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Centro Celvesera La Zaona, LLC, No. 5:11-CV-00069-BR, 2011 WL 5191576, at *2 (E.D.N.C. Nov. 1, 2011) (providing factors for determining enhanced damages). In accordance, to deter Lawhon from future violations, Joe Hand is awarded $3,600 in enhanced damages, an amount that is treble the awarded statutory damages. See, e.g., Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Upstate Recreation, No. 6:13-2467-TMC, 2015 WL 685461, at *9 (D.S.C. Feb. 18, 2015) (awarding as enhanced damages 2.5 times the statutory damages and citing cases awarding three times and two times the statutory awards); J & J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Romenski, 845 F. Supp. 2d 703, 708 (W.D.N.C. 2012) (awarding total damages equal to treble the sublicense fee).

Update

According to Executive Director of Sherdog.com Greg Savage, Tarverdyan’s licence was revoked for alleged violation of s. 210 of California’s Code of Regulations

Greg Savage Tweet

which reads as follows –

§ 210. Application For License; Contents, Falsification.

(b) Falsification in whole or in part of a material fact or presentation on any application for a license shall result in a license being denied, and if previously granted, revoked unless otherwise ordered by the commission

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Seconds, (cornermen), are typically required to be licensed by State and Provincial Athletic Commissions in regulated combative sports.

Edmund Tarverdyan, head trainer and corner to UFC’s former bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, has apparently had his licence revoked.

The California State Athletic Commission’s agenda for an upcoming meeting on February 2, 2016 has been published and it reveals that they have revoked Tarverdyan’s seconds licence and that he is appealing this.

It is unclear why his license has been revoked or for how long but unless and until this is overturned Tarverdyan will not be able to corner fighters in California.  Being licensed in other ABC member jurisdictions may also prove problematic during the course of the revocation as members typically honor each others suspensions.

CSAC Agenda

The UFC’s color commentator, Joe Rogan, a man who can honestly boast to have seen more live MMA fights and the weigh ins that precede them than most anyone else, is the latest vocal critic on the need for weight cut reform in the sport.

In his latest podcast with guest Carlos Condit, Rogan suggested it makes far more sense for regulators to eliminate the rapid extreme weight cuts which bring fighters to a profound state of dehydration a mere day before strenuous competition.  Rogan noted it would be ideal if regulators did not allow dehydrated athletes to compete and commented as follows (the discussion begins around the 1:05 mark of the podcast) –

To me, I feel like the Athletic Commissions are sleeping on a potential time bomb. They’re just ignoring that this is a huge issue.  While they’re concentrating on steroids, EPO and all these other things, which are real issues.  Those things are unquestionably real issues, but just as big of an issue is massive dehydration 24 hours before a cage fight.  Especially now that they’ve eliminated the IV rehydration methods and the fact that we know now, there’s medical science proving, that the brain does not rehydrate as fast as the rest of the tissue.  It takes longer, it takes as much as 70 hours…to rehydrate the brain.

Condit agreed responding that “I’m on the side of health for fighters and guys taking care of themselves.  We’re doing this for a very brief period of time in our lives and the repercussions long term from a lot of the different stuff involved, including weight cutting is going to have long term ramifications”.

Following at least two known deaths in MMA due to rapid extreme weight cut practices it is welcome that industry stakeholders are finally acknowledging that this is a real danger in need for reform.  To repeat my recent comments,   I continue to encourage Athletic Commissions to consider adding a hydration requirement which must be met at the time of weigh ins.  While this can drastically alter the weight classes fighters prefer to compete in, it can help go a long way to restore what weight classes were meant to protect in the first place, namely athlete safety.

Following at least two known deaths in MMA due to rapid extreme weight cut practices and a much needed Dehydration and Weight Cutting Summit last year in California reforms are coming to this aspect of mixed martial arts.

The Kansas Athletic Commisison is the latest to implement reforms.

MMAFighting.com’s Marc Raimondi has the story and reports as follows

The Kansas Athletic Commission (KAC) will be testing out a new format for mixed martial arts weigh-ins next month, MMA Fighting has learned.

At Bellator 150, fighters will be given the option to weigh-in between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. the day before the fight — six hours prior to the typical 4 p.m. weigh-in start time. The idea is to give fighters more time to rehydrate after their weight cuts. It was first broached last month at the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) weight-cutting summit.

 

If a fighter does not want to weigh-in between 10 and 2, he or she can still do it during the regular, 4 p.m. weigh-in. Per KAC rule, if a fighter misses weight during any of those periods of time, he or she will still have two hours from that point to attempt to make the contracted limit.

KAC head Adam Roorbach will be in a room at the fighter hotel during those hours overseeing the protocol. When a fighter wants to officially weigh-in, he or she will announce it to Roorbach. Then, Roorbach will contact the opponent’s team to give them the option to watch while the fighter weighs in.

Bellator’s 4 p.m. weigh-in, which airs on the promotion’s website, would not be the commission’s official weigh-in for the fighters who already hit the scale between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Cory Schafer, Bellator’s director of regulatory affairs, said it was important to give fighters a choice to do things a new way, rather than just outright altering the rules.

“We’re not changing it,” Schafer said. “We’re offering them another option. They can do it exactly the way they’re accustomed to.”

While more time to properly re-hydrate is a potentially welcome solution critics point out that this may encourage continued rapid extreme weight cuts which are the heart of the problem in the first place.  I continue to encourage Athletic Commissions to consider adding a hydration requirement which must be met at the time of weigh ins.  While this can drastically alter the weight classes fighters prefer to compete in, it can help go a long way to restore what weight classes were meant to protect in the first place, namely athlete safety.

Update May 21, 2016 – In addition to the below Brandao remains on the NSAC’s agenda for their May 25 meeting noting “Hearing on Disciplinary Complaint against mixed martial artist Diego Brandao, for possible action

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Update May 20, 2016Today USADA issued a press release stating that Bradao accepted the anti-doping violation and agreed to a 9 month sanction.   The press release reads as follows:

USADA announced today that Diego Brandao, of São Paulo, Brazil, tested positive for a prohibited substance and has accepted a nine-month sanction for his anti-doping policy violation.

Brandao, 28, tested positive for Carboxy-THC, a metabolite of marijuana and/or hashish, above the decision limit of 180 ng/mL, stemming from an in-competition sample collected on January 2, 2016 at UFC 195 in Las Vegas, Nev. Marijuana and hashish are in the class of Cannabinoids on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List, and prohibited, in-competition, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

Cannabinoids are listed as Specified Substances on the WADA Prohibited List. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, the standard sanction for an anti-doping policy violation involving a Specified Substance is a one-year period of ineligibility, which may be reduced to a public reprimand and no period of ineligibility depending on the athlete’s degree of fault.

Brandao accepted a nine-month period of ineligibility, which began on January 2, 2016, the date of sample collection; however, per the Policy, Brandao is eligible for an additional one-month reduction in sanction length pending the satisfactory completion of an approved anti-doping educational program. Further, Brandao’s positive test also falls under the jurisdiction of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, who may impose additional sanctions, including fines or a period of ineligibility that is longer than the period set forth above.

As a result of the doping violation, Brandao has been disqualified from all competitive results achieved on and subsequent to January 2, 2016, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.

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Today the UFC issued a press release advising that featherweight Diego Brandao tested positive for marijuana metabolites in an in-competition test at UFC 195 which took place in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The press release reads as follows:

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) informed Diego Brandao of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation involving Carboxy-Tetrahydrocannabinol (“Carboxy-THC”) which is a metabolite of marijuana and/or hashish, above the decision limit of 180 ng/mL, stemming from an in-competition sample collected following his fight on January 2, 2016 in Las Vegas.

These readings, if accurate, not only violate the UFC’s/USADA’s in house Anti-Doping Program but also are above what the Nevada State Athletic Commission tolerates for the in-competition window.

As the recent Nick Diaz saga demonstrated, the NSAC is not shy to issue heavy fines and suspensions for in competition marijuana failures.  Brandao’s reported positive test was conducted by USADA, not the NSAC, but assuming the test results are shared with the NSAC (and reportedly they have) or assuming that the NSAC administered tests with the same results they will have jurisdiction to issue penalties against Brandao.

The fighter’s woes won’t end there though as the USADA Anit-Doping Policy spells out tough penalties, which can be imposed simultaneously to anything the NSAC chooses to do, for in competition marijuana failures.  Marijuana is labeled as a ‘specified substance’ under the policy with the following prescribed punishment –

10.2.2 The period of Ineligibility shall be one year where the Anti-Doping Policy Violation involves a Specified Substance.

The policy also allows “forfeiture of title, ranking, purse or other compensation“.

If the above was not enough the Policy also allows the UFC to level their own fine if they so wish with Section 10.10 reading as follows –

UFC may impose a fine on an Athlete or other Person who commits an Anti-Doping Policy Violation up to the sum of $500,000 depending on the seriousness of the violation and the relative compensation of the Athlete or other Person

Brandao may unfortunately learn a very costly lesson if he cannot clear himself of this alleged positive result.

Update January 16, 2016– Fox Sports has now suspended Florian issuing the following statement:

It is vitally important that FOX Sports and FOXSports.com maintain credibility and trust with their readers, viewers and fans. FOX UFC on-air personality Kenny Florian is being suspended beginning immediately for a critical oversight in a story posted earlier this week on FOXSports.com. Florian has admitted and regrets his mistake and apologized for the error.

Update – Florian has issued the following apology –

Florian Apology

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Analyzing fights is hard work and it takes special skill and great effort for individuals such as Robin Black and Jack Slack to provide their industry leading breakdowns.

Following similarities first noted by The Naked Gambler this week, former UFC fighter and current Fox Sports MMA analyst Kenny Florian has been accused of “outrageous” plagiarism by boxing analyst Lee Wylie.

Earlier this week Florian published a breakdown on FoxSpots.com of the upcoming bantamweight title bout between Dominic Cruz and TJ Dillashaw.  While discussing Dillashaw’s footwork Florian noted

On a fundamental level, the reason for the “step and slide” is simple. The less time a fighter stays airborne, the better his balance and the more economical his movement.

The problem?  On December 3, 2015 Wylie uploaded an analysis of boxer Willie Pep on YouTube with the following observation:

Screenshot Youtube fight breakdown

It doesn’t end there.

Florian also noted that “Everything in fighting begins and ends with the feet.” Where Wylie wrote as follows

Screenshot begins with feet

Florian – “This means he steps with his lead foot towards his opponent and then slides his rear foot the same distance to retain his base. There’s not much space between the soles of his feet and the canvas as he works to regulate distance and offset his opponent’s alignment.”

Wylie  –

Screenshot re alignment

Florian – “After circling to his left and ending in southpaw stance for example, he will abruptly step in and strike with a left hand just as his opponent begins to follow

Wylie –

Wylie Screenshot Abrutply

Florian – “Dillashaw relies on the inherently simplistic jab as the cornerstone of his arsenal more than Cruz

Wylie –

Screenshot re jab

The similarities go on.  Wylie, after having this brought to his attention called the actions ‘outrageous’

Screenshots Wylie Tweets

Florian’s article has since been updated with the following Editors Note

(Editor’s Note: Language in this breakdown borrows from written material in a video of an in-depth look at the defensive boxing prowess of Willie Pep by TheFightCity.com boxing analyst Lee Wylie. The original version of this story did not contain this credit. We regret the oversight.)

Florian has yet to publicly comment on this matter but has apparently apologized to Wylie and says he will clear the air on his podcast with Wylie taking the high road and accepting the apology.

Screenshot apology and acceptance tweets

It is unclear what Florian’s explanation is but for his sake hopefully he will clear the air sooner than next week as his actions are bringing swift condemnation by MMA’s online community

 

Screenshot tweet mocking Florian